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Update: Woodinville City Staff Propose Annexation in Tourist District

The land proposed for annexation is the county-owned parking area by the Northshore Athletic Fields in the Woodinville Tourist District.

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Update Oct. 17, 1:25 p.m. A Woodinville city staffer emailed the following to Patch after an inquiry into the Oct. 24 meeting details: 

There is a meeting on October 24th between the County Executive and a few City Council members on behalf of the City; however it isn’t a public meeting, nor is there an agenda.  

Original story from Oct. 16:

The issue of annexation came up again at last week’s Woodinville City Council meeting.

Woodinville City Manager Richard Leahy proposed annexing the King County-owned parking area adjacent to the Northshore Athletic Fields in the Woodinville Tourist District. The annexation would allow for tourist-related business development, he said.

The proposal came in a list of recommendations for the 2012-2013 legislative agenda with King County.

Councilor Paulette Bauman said at the meeting that she didn't recall the idea, but Leahy said they first brought it to the council in January and that it's part of a long-term vision and on the long-term agenda of county issues.

The intent would be to relocate the parking lot, perhaps to the north side of the road along the Tolt pipeline, Leahy said. Then the current parking area would be available for potential tourist-related business development.

"It would fill in the last gap between the roundabout and the Columbia/Ste. Michelle intersection," he said, adding that it would make the area more pedestrian-friendly.

No one from the city has spoken yet with the owner of the athletic fields, officials from Redhook Brewery or the wineries, Leahy said.

"There's a lot of cooperation that's needed," he said.

Deputy Mayor Liz Aspen said she would like the city to clarify how the land is currently zoned and said she had heard it's zoned for agriculture or parks.

While Leahy thought the 2012-2013 legislative agenda (with or without this annexation proposal) should be set before a meeting with county officials next week, Mayor Bernie Talmas said the council should wait until after the Oct. 24 meeting.

"I think we should test the waters at the meeting next week," he said. "I think we have enough to talk about."

What do you think about this proposal? Does it make sense since it's in Woodinville's official tourist district? Do you think the nearby businesses and county will support the idea? Tell us in comments.

Clubtraderjoes October 16, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Let's get the wine village built across the street first then worry about another development like that...
Dale Knapinski October 16, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I thought King County agreed to work with Woodinville WITHOUT moving the UGB. When King County contacted the City to discuss agricultural development and traffic issues, UGB adjustments were specifically off the table. I don't recall any discussion of taking over the ball field parking lot at any time as Rich Leahy said. This is a really bad way to start discussions with King County, but even worse for Woodinville residents. Taxpayers in Woodinville have been waiting for an opportunity to voice their opinion on the annexation issue for more than two years. We are blindsided with yet another annexation issue after paying many thousands of dollars on the last failed effort for non-residents. Send this issue to the Woodinville Planning commission NOW, not after you make another costly blunder.
Dale Knapinski October 16, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Editor: Can you tell us when this meeting between City staff and King County will take place and where it will be? Is this an open meeting and will it be recorded? Who will be there, and what are the topics to be discussed? I haven't seen any public notice and this is certainly a meeting that perks the interest of many local groups and citizens, not just Woodinville residents.
Dale Knapinski October 17, 2012 at 03:31 PM
The ball fields and parking area are owned by King County. It's a park. King County taxpayers passed a bond measure in 1969 to fund it. The Forward Thrust program funded the fields in question. The fields and parking lot are within the APD and may be a non-conforming use, but the facility is a far cry from commercial use, and is compatible with the rural and agricultural feel of the area. Woodinville also has a ball field. I remember how Liz Aspen and Scott Hageman INSISTED that we must spend Woodinville tax money for a ball field downtown, touting all the benefits of promoting sports, parks, and a gateway to the city. Now here comes Richard Leahy with a goofy plan out of nowhere to disturb the valley and the park by moving the parking lot next to the high pressure underground gas line, and commercialize another piece of KING COUNTY property. Woodinville needs to stop spending money on these asinine, futile, attempts to destroy the valley for the benefit of a few property owners. Work cooperatively with King County and pressure them to address road and traffic issues, code enforcement, rails and trails, and enhancement of the Sammamish Valley. Abandon the silly requests that cause the systematic destruction of 20 years of work the County has done to salvage pristine land. Again, Woodinville officials are proceeding with no plan, no thought, no study, no public support, no public input, and against massive opposition from nearly every neighborhood group.
Ann October 17, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Why haven't they spoken to the field owners? I like the idea of the circle entrance to the field and it provides access to the trails. The lot itself is horrible and pothole ridden tho.
Lisa Baumann (Editor) October 17, 2012 at 03:33 PM
I'm checking on it Dale and will let everyone know - asap! Thanks!
Edwin October 17, 2012 at 03:35 PM
If my research is correct the City of Woodinville owns this property. You can verify by going to King County iMap
Ann October 17, 2012 at 03:45 PM
"No one from the city has spoken yet with the owner of the athletic fields, officials from Redhook Brewery or the wineries, Leahy said." --OK, the article implies there was a different owner. The lot could use some TLC. I wonder then who is collecting money when they rent out spaces during concerts then!
Bob Martinek October 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Well, the farms were saved but will the signs last just as long. Please take down your ugly sign! You can replace them with save our parking lots!
Bob Martinek October 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Sorry, 1st sentence should end with "?"
Sally Beth October 17, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Spoke with King County. The baseball fields and parking lot are part of the Sammamish Valley and are outside the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). They are COUNTY PROPERTY. This is a County Park. The County Council has stated they are NOT moving the UGB! This is just more taxpayer money wasted by Leahy, Kathy Lambert, Windermere Commercial Real Estate, Lucy DeYoung and Paulette Bauman-Rubstello-Aspen-Hageman. The County Representative for this area is Jane Hague and her office is being totally blind sided by this initiative. Kathy Lambert needs to read that memo again, removing her from representation of this area. Watch for the DeYoung green machine to focus on Ferguson and Hague. Why does the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce even allow these ruffians through their doors. It gives the Chamber a bad rep.
Edwin October 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM
This is confusing. According to this property detail City of Woodinville purchased in 2/1/2010. here is the link. http://info.kingcounty.gov/Assessor/eRealProperty/Detail.aspx?ParcelNbr=1526059070 Yet the Parcel Viewer states King County see below: Parcel 1526059070 Present use: Park, Public(Zoo/Arbor) Jurisdiction: KING COUNTY Taxpayer name: KING COUNTY-PARKS Address: N/A Appraised value: $292,000 Lot area: 1,458,979 Levy code: 7570 Regardless it is a government track of land and I do not see why one would rezone it. Could it be it that Woodinville has excess ball field capacity? Or would the City then turn around and sell it to a developer.
Sally Beth October 17, 2012 at 06:41 PM
The County may have just been transitioning right of way at the edge of the ballfields for the installation of the roundabouts.
Lisa Baumann (Editor) October 17, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Here is what I've been told by a Woodinville city staffer about the Oct. 24 meeting between the city and King County: "There is a meeting on October 24th between the County Executive and a few City Council members on behalf of the City; however it isn’t a public meeting, nor is there an agenda."
T. Schriever October 17, 2012 at 08:48 PM
The City of Woodinville government has problems. The recent annexation issue was initially promoted by the City as a way to put more money in the City government’s pocket, without regard to any reasonable land use planning. The City revenues were to be increased by annexing new lands, including farmland, and rezoning it to commercial property that would pay significant taxes to the City. Then some realtors and land owners got together and submitted an annexation application to the City (along with a big check for the application fee) which in the end didn’t come close to covering the Cities costs. Throw it against the wall and see what sticks appeared to be what the City and annexation promoters were doing. The county brushed it off. The City Managers proposed agenda with King County asks that they 1) agree on an approach to expand the Urban Growth Boundary, 2) move a county parking lot for the purposes of commercial development and 3) establish a joint economic development plan for the Sammamish Valley. This paraphrased version sound less offensive than the actual version. One of the City Councilmembers said this is “out of touch” considering the recent county denial of the previous annexation. The concepts underlying these agenda items are reasonable and should be considered, but the manner of the proposed agenda writing is out of touch. The county certainly will not want crap thrown at them to see what sticks.
Dale Knapinski October 17, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Kathy Lambert indicated that this collaboration was an open and transparent discussion without an agenda, but Woodinville officials say it's a private meeting between 3 Woodinville councilmembers and the County Executive. Woodinville is pushing for annexation, not only of the north and south valley areas, but of the ball field parking area, too! According to the discussions during the last Woodinville council meetings, the Woodinville council only offered to enter into discussions if UGB adjustments were on the table. If this is not a "Public" meeting, why is the Chamber of Commerce invited, but Woodinville residents, King County residents, and the public at large are not invited????? This is a back door private deal to push annexation through, and it stinks.
Sally Beth October 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM
The county thinks it's an open meeting. How can you have a private meeting with members of the public there. Is this invitation only? What are they hiding? Aspen and Bauman having back room meetings again about annexation?
John Snow October 17, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Parcel 152605-9070 is owned by King County Parks.
Dale Knapinski October 17, 2012 at 11:23 PM
On the agenda from the 02/14/2012 Woodinville council meeting was this little one line item under Adjust Our Tax Base #3. Extend the Tourist District along the King County ballfields. (Provide replacement parking on the north side of the fields along the Tolt Pipeline?) According to the minutes of that meeting and a review of the videotape, the item was never even brought up for discussion.
Dale Knapinski October 17, 2012 at 11:35 PM
From Michael Tanksley: While we might agree that the boundaries of Woodinville could have been drawn in a more enlightened way, the fact is that they are where they are and it would be very difficult to move the boundaries and ownership as suggested. And I would speak for many by noting that, unless Woodinville abandons its assault on the Rural area with its other annexation ideas around the Valley, they will find very little enthusiasm to accommodate such a request, assuming that it is even possible. As for using the Tolt Pipeline right-of-way for ball field parking, the City of Seattle sold a right-of-way to PSE a few years ago for the installation of a high pressure gas pipeline along the south side of the Pipeline right-of-way. It is also important to recognize that the parking lot is for general public use for accessing the Sammamish River Trail, which is also a King County Park facility. Somehow, I think moving the parking lot to be on top of such a gas line would not be met with much enthusiasm either. Michael Tanksley
Dale Knapinski October 18, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Final answer: The meeting between Woodinville and The King County Executive's Office will be at Woodinville City council chambers, 1pm, October 24th. This is an "Invitation" meeting. At this point, only selected individuals were invited. I cordially invite ALL parties that have an interest in Sammamish Valley annexation, UGB adjustments, preserving agricultural and rural land, preserving recreational areas and parks, to attend. It is understood that some Woodinville councilmembers will be presenting a case for UGB adjustments and annexation of 17 known properties, plus the addition of the Northshore ball field parking lot. It isn't known if the City will be pushing for annexation of properties on the EAST side of 148th Avenue NE, but Woodinville was made aware of the interest those property owners had 2 years ago, so it would not be a shock to have them added, too. This issue affects the entire region, and any discussions about changes to King County policy regarding land use need to be “Open and transparent”, just like Kathy Lambert said they would be.
Ron Olson October 18, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I don't understand. Why would the County Executive agree to a private meeting to discuss UGB adjustments with Woodinville? The Executive already provided an answer to this issue to King County. The answer was no. What's there to discuss?
L Bear October 18, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Lucky enough to use the pipeline to access the trail. Perhaps someone should mention to the county council members, to actually go out and take a look at where the 'potential' replacement parking lot is located. To the 'field' side of the pipeline, is a newly updated and naturalized area, complete with large logs, and other implanted things to SLOW THE WATER, that drains down from Hollywood Hill. That side literally bubbles and flows water, and offers relief for our infamous rain storms. This was done, among other reasons to slow the erosion, and restore a more natural habitat. Maybe same said council members will agree to show up after rain storms with a bunch of buckets and mops.... So parents of soccer, baseball, and softball teams, do you prefer your knee high rubber boots in a camo, pink, or some other color?
Ron Olson October 19, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Lisa: I've been told that King County had no problem with the local newspaper being invited to this meeting, as a matter of fact, the Executive's Office supposedly suggested it. That doesn't sound like a private meeting. I was also told that Woodinville has a 4 point agenda to discuss with Dow Constantine at the 10/24 meeting, and that discussion of annexation is on the list. What do you know about this?
Lisa Baumann (Editor) October 19, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Ron, There is a four-point agenda (with a link to it in the story above) proposed by Woodinville City Manager Rich Leahy for the city's 2012-2013 legislative agenda with King County. I don't know exactly what the agenda is for the Oct. 24 meeting but the mayor said at the council meeting he didn't want to discuss the annexation of the athletic fields parking lot at the Oct. 24 meeting. So far, I've been told by the city that the meeting is not open to the public. I've left a message for the county about this as well and will let you know as soon as I know something more.
Ron Olson October 19, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Lisa: If the meeting is next week and there's no public notice as of today, I'd assume this is a not a "Public" meeting. But it is private, where observers CANNOT attend? The invitation to meet was made by King County, but who is hosting the meeting and who is responsible for making it a private meeting? King County suggested that the local newspaper could be invited. The Executive's offer didn't specify that it should be a private meeting. The Woodinville council decided to send only 3 councilmembers, but that doesn't mean the meeting isn't open to the public, and the council didn't ban the public. I don't understand the whole idea about public and private meetings, not just for this issue, but for meetings in general. Who made the decision in this case, and who can we petition to make sure the public is not excluded? If UGB adjustments and items that affect the GMA were not on the agenda, I would have no problem with a small group discussion regarding local business issues. But I think we need to establish some strict rules in Woodinville to keep city business open and transparent, to use Kathy Lambert's words. Help us out here.
Lisa Baumann (Editor) October 19, 2012 at 06:14 PM
City of Woodinville officials are the ones who told me it was a closed meeting. I am checking to see if there's a way to open it. Here's a link to open meeting law in Washington state - http://www.atg.wa.gov/OpenGovernment/InternetManual/Chapter3.aspx
Ron Olson May 08, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Woodinville city council elections are right around the corner. It's time for the candidates to ask for campaign contributions. In the last Woodinville election, the biggest contributors were a local realtor, a former mayor, and a developer that were all seeking annexation of some prime valley land for conversion to commercial development. The contributors supported the campaign of Les Rubstello. Les stated to the public in his campaign literature that sacred valley land should not be sacrificed for commercial development, but after accepting huge campaign contributions from the Windermere realtor that represents the non-Woodinville resident land owners, Les made an about face and voted based on contributions, and not in the best interest of the citizens he is supposed to represent. Paulette Bauman also abandoned her constituents. She is up for re-election. You can count on Paulette accepting contributions from developers and non-resident realtors, too. It really sucks that our government is so corrupted by money. Why do I bring this up? Because Paulette Bauman and Les Rubstello are trying to get the annexation issue back on the table again, despite the fact that King County said no, despite the fact that Woodinville taxpayers footed an enormous bill for the failed annexation effort for non-residents, and despite the fact that our tax money would be better spent on improving public safety here so that we don't have another resident murdered in their own home.

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